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Six secrets for becoming an irresistible tanguera

By Andrew L. Kaye.

1. Tango is not about leading and following; it is about dancing.

A tanguera is at a milonga to dance, not to follow. A great tanda is magical coming together of two sentient, creative beings ready to make something happen in motion, in harmony with each other, with the music, and with the room. In this, there is no “leading and following” in the pedestrian meaning of these terms. Both individuals are creating the dance in fluid response to the sensuous ebb and flow of the music. In this process, the man is placed in charge of navigation; but both will lead and follow as the creative process unfolds.

2. Use the floor, not the man

In order to dance and not merely to follow, one has to have a command of one’s own axis and one’s ability to move with precision and the right amount of energy; that is, one has to have a command of one’s technique. Just as the tanguera does not like it when she is squeezed, pushed, or pulled by the man, as these actions limit her freedom to dance, the man does not want to be leaned upon or otherwise used to support the weight of his partner, as this will limit his freedom. When the man—the technically capable man, that is—leads the accomplished tanguera to a calesita, she does not use her arms and his to maintain her balance. She uses the floor and the resources of her own body (her musculature, her poise, her core).

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